Crossing the border
I found a butter tart in my bag this morning and while scarfing it down, I realized that I had yet to write my final post from my self-imposed exile.  Luckily, this isn't a handwritten piece or you would see the butter stains all over the paper :)

After our time in Victoria drew to an end, Katherine and I packed Clarence back onto a ferry and drove him south of the border into the US! My friend Sara lives in Seattle and we had decided to meet in Bellingham, WA to have lunch and catch up. I have many, many summers' worth of border crossings under my belt and assured Kath and Clarence that it would be no big deal. Uhhh...not so much. We waited in line for an hour, turning the engine on and off repeatedly, since B.C. is an "idle free zone" and cracked jokes about who might be holding things up ahead of us. When we finally got up to the booth for our interrogation, we were asked two questions in the most incredulous of tones...1) "What the heck are you doing here?" and 2) "Who's car is that?" We answered very seriously, of course, and were on our way.
Sara and Me
We met up with Sara and wandered around the historic Fairhaven neighborhood. It was full of funky galleries and cool boutiques. The main attraction, though, was friendship and conversation as we shared stories, laughed together and compared frustrations and triumphs. All too soon, it was time to head back to Vancouver to return Clarence. Another rainy wait at the border and another set of wacky questions and we were back in Canada. We quickly drove around Stanley Park and watched the sun sink behind the clouds over the Pacific. A beautiful end to the day.
The next morning, we headed to Granville Island for gallery-hopping, amazing food, and window shopping. It was a great way to stay out of the chilly rain and absorb some of the cool Pacific Northwestern culture. After lunch, we explored Gastown, a part of Vancouver named after one of its most illustrious citizens, Gassy Jack. Yep, that's really his nickname. Apparently, the "Gassy" moniker comes from the lengthy speeches he used to make to anyone willing to listen...I'm not so sure that's all it was. Especially since the main attraction in Gastown these days is a steam-powered clock that toots every half hour. We shopped around for a bit, ducking into and out of the rain before retiring to the hotel for some HGTV and take out food.

And that's it. The next morning we both left early and before I knew it, I was back in Chicago. I've been back now for a few days and it was overwhelming how quickly my "real life" came rushing back to me. I knew the transition would be a challenge for me, but I had no idea how much so. I'm getting through it. Soon, school will start again as a welcome distraction and I can start putting my life back together piece by piece. Some of the pieces aren't going to fit anymore and I'm trying to store them away as kindly as I can. There are also some new pieces that I will need to find a place for. I've never been much of one for puzzles, but I'm a quick learner and I'll get there.

A parting message from B.C...
Besides, this butter tart tastes just as good as it would have in Whistler and if a pastry can stay delicious over time, I'm sure the memories of my time of reflection, peace and growth will have an even longer shelf life.

Signing out until the next adventure, Lindsey


Ferry of dreams...

After sun, sun, and more sun in Whistler, we awoke to a rainy morning in Vancouver. Luckily, the sun was (figuratively) restored when we picked up a rental car right after getting up...we landed a bright yellow VW bug! After christening the car "Clarence," we hopped in and headed immediately for the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island.

View from the ferry before I drifted off...
With so many clouds and chilly drizzle, we weren't able to see much of the supposedly scenic crossing. So I napped instead. I had crazy dreams, the content of which faded as soon as I woke up...then I'd drift off again, dream wacky stuff, wake again and so forth. Once Katherine, Clarence and I were on solid ground again, we headed down the coast of the island to Canada's most British of cities, Victoria. We knew we had arrived when double-decker, London-style sightseeing buses almost ran Clarence off the road. We explored the quaint downtown area for a bit on foot dodging from bookstore to tea shop to bookstore to keep out of the worst of the rain...

Finally, we tracked down our B&B, a quaint cottage on the outskirts of Victoria. We were greeted by a courteous teenager, who we later found out was completely running the inn with his siblings while their parents - the owners - were out of town! After a bit of unpacking and down-time, we turned around and went back into Victoria for a massive Indian dinner (delicious!) and a short Clarence-led driving tour.

The next morning, we chowed down on a teen-made breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast while we chatted with a personable couple from Belgium and a shy grandmother from Edmonton in town for her granddaughter's wedding. Clarence drew a lot of looks on our drive out to Butchart Gardens, one of Canada's most lovely historic sites. The gardens were created by the Butcharts, a wealthy family involved in limestone mining...once the quarry was tapped out, they built these incredible gardens to beautify the otherwise ugly hole in the ground.

The gardens are still gorgeous today and they've even opened the Butcharts' home and transformed it into a tearoom where they serve a substantial high tea daily. We...okay, I...scarfed down finger sandwiches, tiny pastries and scones complete with Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves. When you wash all of that down with an entire POT of tea, strolling the rest of the gardens became rather difficult with my seriously full stomach. Yikes!

Doing our own misfit thing...
We capped off the day with some shopping in downtown Victoria and a movie..."Moonrise Kingdom." Wes Anderson is a genius. I think this is a contender for favorite Wes Anderson film...I haven't quite decided yet, as "Rushmore" has held that title for quite some time for me...I have to be sure before I can make the decision official! I think my favorite thing about all of his films, but this one in particular, is how he elevates the misfits of the world to having epic adventures. Love, love, loved it!! It was the first human creation that has given me any sense of hope in a few weeks, so I'll cling to that like Suzy clings to her binoculars :)